By AUTUMN HUGHES
Despite explanations from auditors with the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, members of the Bradley County Audit Committee still questioned the Fiscal Year 2017 audit report.
Despite explanations from auditors with the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, members of the Bradley County Commission's Audit Committee still questioned the Fiscal Year 2017 audit report.
Steve Reeder, Mid-East Tennessee regional director of audits for the Comptroller's Office, and some of his staff met Monday with the Audit Committee to discuss the findings:
Office of County Mayor:
• The General Fund required audit adjustments for proper financial statement presentation.
• The general ledger cash account was not properly reconciled with the County Trustee reports in the General ledger fund.
• The General Fund general ledger payroll liability accounts were not reconciled.
• The office failed to make timely payments to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System resulting in assessed penalties totaling $11,929.
• Duties were not segregated adequately.
Committee member Milan Blake asked for clarification on the “Financial Highlights” portion of the audit under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis” regarding fund balances.
Reeder said the section refers to assignment of funds, noting the county can assign funds for planning purposes and mark it as unavailable.
"We're doing good, then, with our fund balance," Blake said.
Blake said the finding in the county mayor’s office related to timely TCRS payment seems to be a software issue. He asked if the burden is on the county to determine if there is a software bug. Reeder said it is.
Blake said he believes the county needs to go to the software company to seek an explanation of the finding.
Reeder said the responsibility falls on the affected office — in this case, the county mayor's office — to reconcile the finances and determine where the problem lies.
Blake asked how the $11,929 figure was derived.
"That was the first month with the new … retirement plan," said Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis.
He explained the Local Government Corporation software system did not accept the first day's payment and TCRS assesses a penalty if it is not paid on day one. Davis said the issue was corrected on the third day.
"The bottom line is that it got fixed," but the finding makes it look like the county made a mistake, Davis said.
Office of Road Superintendent:
• Competitive bids were not solicited for the purchase of certain highway equipment.
Audit Committee Chairman Dan Rawls said he talked to Road Superintendent Sandra Knight Collins about the finding, and noted the Bradley County Commission had passed a resolution to allow the purchase referred to.
Reeder said because of the resolution it "should not be an issue."
"It was a matter of procedure and following statutes," he said.
Office of Clerk and Master:
• Excess fees were not reported and paid to the county in compliance with state statutes.
• Duties were not segregated adequately.
Audit Committee citizen member Dr. Dewayne Thompson said the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis” is "pretty clean" and he is pleased with that. He also had a question about the $11,929 figure because it seems excessive, adding he thinks a letter should be sent to the software company, Local Government Corporation.
Blake said he will follow up with Local Government and TCRS.
Thompson asked — when looking at the county mayor's office where reconciliation didn't take place — is there "a culture of lackadaisicalness" or are offices understaffed with no time to reconcile.
As for duties not being segregated in the clerk and master's office, Thompson said "that seems to be an ongoing issue."
Rawls said he has looked at segregation of duties, noting the issue was addressed last year and the Audit Committee was assured by the clerk and master that it would be done. Rawls added he is "not buying" that there is insufficient staff for segregation of duties.
Blake said he believes this audit is the first based on internal control documents for each office. Reeder said it is, and once the Comptroller's Office has those internal control policies the auditors can make these types of findings — the Comptroller's recommendation is to "follow the policy."
"We never get into personnel (issues)," Reeder said. "We're trying to find potential problems."
Audit Committee citizen member William “Buster” Stuart said he thinks it is a bad idea when offices are allowed to accept cash with no documentation. Rawls added it is alarming, because there are no receipts for cash transactions.
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